Is the decision to waive your right to alimony permanent?

Question: I’ve been unemployed for 6 months now. Child support payments are destroying my credit because my debt exceeds my unemployment even though the support payments are less than $200 a month.

My ex makes over $100,000 a year and I have basically no income right now. In our divorce agreement, it’s written that we both agreed to mutually waive alimony past and present.

Is there any way to change that given my change in circumstances?


Answer: Although I do not practice in Connecticut, in most jurisdictions, the decision to waive your right to alimony is a permanent decision.  Your divorce agreement likely states something along the lines that you understand that this is a permanent decision that cannot be brought before the court at a later date.  Or you may have testified that you understood the decision at your final divorce hearing.  Your divorce agreement also states that you entered into the agreement freely, voluntary, and without undue coercion.  Another concern is depending on the considerations for alimony in your state, you may not have been entitled to alimony in the first place.

You state that you are paying child support.  Is this the result of a modified child support order or is this the original support order amount?  If the amount is the original support order, you may be able to seek a modification of support based on your unemployment earnings.  Her earnings may or may not be a factor in your support order.

The laws of each state vary greatly concerning support, therefore you should contact an attorney licensed in Connecticut to discuss the applicable laws in Connecticut.  You should do so immediately as you do not state when your divorce was final and there may be time restrictions involved.


Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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